What is the Tour De France

Tour de France is the bicycle race held every year in France and neighboring countries in which worlds best cyclists compete. The course of the race changes every year but since 1975, the race has been terminating in Champs- Élysées in Paris.

The race is held annually in the month of July and lasts for almost three weeks. The race is considered to be tough because of variety of terrains that the cyclists encounter. The race usually covers 3600 kms but the distance varies. Tour de France has 21 stages; consisting of flat routes, steep hills, mountains and is test of endurance for cyclists.

The first edition of Tour de France was held in the year 1903. The year 1904 witnessed the shortest race (2420 kms) and it was won by the youngest cyclist till date, Henri Cornet aged 19 years. The longest Tour de France was held in 1926 at 5745 kms.

Out of 21 days, all the cyclists are offered 2 days of rest since Tour de France is a very physically and mentally tiring. Around 20 to 22 teams, having 9 riders each, take part in Tour de France, where entry is through invitation by the organizers of the race, Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.0.). All the individual riders and their teams try to excel. Throughout the race, the managers and staff of all the teams follow the riders in cars.

Apart from the overall winner, there is much at stake for riders and there are many competitions. Winner of each competition gets distinctive jerseys. Bright yellow jersey (maillot jaune) is given to the overall leader of the race. Riders with low overall time at the end of every stage gets a ceremonial yellow colored jersey and but the rider who gets the yellow jersey at the end of the race at Champs-Élysées is the winner. Lance Armstrong is the man who has won the race for 7 consecutive years; from 1999 to 2005. There are been many riders who have won the race five times.

The green jersey (maillot vert) is given to the winner of points competition. All the riders are awarded points after every stage. To commemorate the race’s 50th year, green jerseys were introduced in 1953. Red polka dots jersey (maillot á pois rouges) is given to the King of Mountains, meaning the rider who performs the best at mountain stages. This jersey was introduced in 1975. There is a white jersey also, introduced since 1975, which is given to young promising riders who are under 26 years of age.

Despite many other cycling races held all over the world, tour de France remains one of the best known cycling events and thousands of tourists, locals turn up to enjoy  the event.